Character Meet & Greets Disney Vs Universal 2022
This is actually one of the hidden wild cards when trying to decide if you should visit Disney vs Universal! As you probably guessed the character experiences at both parks are very different as both companies own different intellectual property. However on the plus side here this really is simply a personal preference as you will meet some amazing characters no matter if you visit Disney World or Universal Orlando!
Disney is well known for their most popular characters including Mickey, Donald, Minnie, and goofy as well as some of your favorite characters from the newest Disney and Pixar movies. Guests at Universal will be able to meet SpongeBob, the Simpsons, the Minions and even some famous Marvel super heros!
Over all we would have to give the edge to Disney for the simple fact that they host so many different meet and greets youll never run out of characters to visit. Guests can also attend one of the special events such as the Mickeys Not So Scary Halloween Partyor Mickeys Very Merry Christmas party for special character interactions.
Pipes Rocks And More Theming Visible At Super Nintendo World In Universal Studios Hollywood
Since it was announced that Super Nintendo World would be opening in 2023 at Universal Studios Hollywood, we have been seeing some major construction progress. Themed walls can now be seen in the land.
The tower on the left of the land now has stonework in stripes around it.
Most of the land is surrounded by scaffolding, and we saw crew members on the tower scaffolding this week.
The tower is currently grey with off-white rocks. It will eventually be painted more and become Mount Beanpole.
The rockwork wraps around the entire tower.
The rockwork is also visible on various levels of the structure down below.
Bowsers Castle is next to Mount Beanpole. The top half is just steel right now with no paneling.
The bottom half is blue but will eventually get themed paneling and paint. A black pipe runs up one side of the entrance archway.
More crew members were on a platform in the center of the land.
Here we can see the brown themed walls.
A brown tarp covers some of the scaffolding at the corner of the land, keeping workers protected from the sun .
Brown rockwork is visible on the walls leading towards the ground.
Other walls are still just covered in weather-proof sheathing.
Concrete walls surround another tall section of the land.
The pyramid structures here seem to be forming Princess Peachs castle.
The green hills were erected a long time ago. One pipe shape, covered in purple sheathing, sits on a platform near the entrance.
Is Bigger Better You Decide
The first difference between the two Orlando theme park resorts is size.
Sprawling over a whopping 43 square miles, Disney World is about the same size as San Francisco. All in all, Disney World includes four theme parks , two major water parks , 27 Disney resort hotels and about a dozen non-Disney hotels, a campground, four golf courses, plus the Disney Springs shopping and dining neighborhood.
You can’t see all of Disney World in a single visit and shouldn’t try. Instead, come up with a Disney World bucket list for your family based on your kids’ ages and interests. As your kids grow up, your bucket list will change and you’ll come up with new must-do experiences when you visit.
Though considerably smaller, Universal Orlando Resort is still very substantial at 840 acres. It includes two theme parks , the night-time entertainment complex Universal CityWalk Orlando, and four on-site Loews Hotels . You could feasibly experience most of Universal Orlando Resort in a three- or four-day visit.
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Best Way To Get From Walt Disney World To Universal Studios
The two most popular theme parks in Orlando, Florida are Universal Studios and Walt Disney World with many guests travelling between the two multiple times during their vacation.
However, what if youre staying on-site at Universal Studios and want to go to Walt Disney World. Alternatively, what if youre staying at Walt Disney World and want to visit Universal Studios in Orlando?
The 8.6 miles between Walt Disney World and Universal Studios is best travelled by car along the I4 and takes around 20 minutes. If you dont have access to a car, grab an Uber or Lyft, these cost around $17 one-way and can pick you up and drop you off at your selected locations inside both resorts.
That said there are other factors to consider when deciding on the best way to travel between Universal Studios and Walt Disney World for you and your family. Luckily, Ive broken down all the methods and the pros and cons of each below to help you decide.
When Is The Best Time To Visit Disney World Or Universal Orlando
Our Disney & Universal Crowd Calendar is the best tool to help you get the most out of your time in the parks. We break down park crowds, park hours of operation, ticket prices, and average temperature. We also break down the best time to visit Disney World or thebest time to visit Universal Orlando based on specific times of the year and special events.
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Introducing Universal Orlando Resort
Universal Orlando Resort is just one of the several Universal Studios theme parks in the United States. The people with the ideas behind Universal Studios created these parks to showcase the movies and productions of Universal Pictures.
Universal Orlando Resort isnt just one theme park. But the complexs flagship park, Universal Studios Orlando, opened its door for eager visitors in 1990.
A Look At Disney’s Reservation System
Disney has a reservation system that operates on its website and app. In order to make a reservation, a guest must attach a valid ticket or annual pass to his or her account.
Once that’s done, the prospective visitor can then check to see which parks have availability on the days their party plans to visit.
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Comparing Universal Studios And Disney World
Disney World is still a heartthrob for everyone out there. People even save money their whole lives to visit there once. However, spending your valuable time and money on Universal will not be a bad choice either.
Lets get to know the two places better. Here is a detailed description and a comparative discussion of the two worlds.
Is There A Shuttle Service Between Universal Studios And Disney World
Some of the large resorts, such as Reunion and Encore, run a free shuttle service between your accommodation and Disney World. However, there are no official services running between Universal Studios and Disney World. If you are staying at the resorts, you may find it difficult to get to Universal Studios, and if you are already at Disney World, you will have to take a car if you would then like to visit Universal.
Shuttle services also come included with villas that have resort membership, so if you are browsing properties for Disney World, check the villa listing to ensure it is included before booking.
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Disney World Vs Universal Studios
Though many people debate, Which is better, Disney or Universal? that answer comes down to personal opinion.
Some even like to compare which theme park is more nostalgic or is better for families.
These answers tend to vary based on your familys individual ages, interests, and whether your expectations were met when having visited there.
In our experience having been to both parks, however, there are 9 undebatable differences when comparing Disney World vs. Universal Studios, Orlando that we think are worth mentioning.
Though we are huge fans of both Orlando theme parks, perhaps these differences between Universal and Disney will help you decide which is best for you and your family.
Getting To Universal Studios From Walt Disney World
If you are staying at Walt Disney World you have a few options to get to Universal Studios. Sometimes this can be a little puzzling for Disney World Guests as you have most likely used the Magical Express bus service on their travel day to get from the airport to your Disney World resort, but Disney only offers free transportation around Disney World property for guests as well as the Magical Express airport transfer service.
Disney dont want you to leave Disney Property which is understandable but below you will find some of the transport options you can use to get to Universal Studios.
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Does This Give Universal An Edge
Universal Studios joins Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and Norwegian Cruise Line, which recently loosened their mask requirements. Disney will follow Comcast’s theme parks sooner rather than later, but, at the moment Universal Studios may have an edge when it comes to bookings from consumers who desire a more normal experience .
“It remains to be seen if Disney will respond with a similar policy update, or it will continue to be more cautious. In summer 2021, Disney waited another week until June 11 to follow Universal.,”WDWMagic.com reported.
Disney has, however, been bringing back some events that had been sacrificed due to social distancing. The company has already brought back nighttime fireworks and parades, as well as most shows and some of its buffets.
“Buffets have long been a mainstay experience at the Most Magical Place on Earth –that changed dramatically with the arrival of the Covid-19 pandemic, and not just at Disney parks,” wrote Theme Park Tourist, a popular Disney blog. “The return of buffets to restaurants around the world has long been a delicate issue, one Disney has had to navigate carefully.”
Take A Taxi Or Uber/lyft
If youd rather leave the driving to someone else, travelling by taxi is one of the quickest ways to travel between Universal and Disney. There are multiple taxi services available in Orlando, but it is important to book with a reputable firm, like Mears. Depending on your provider, a one-way journey should cost around $45.
Handy apps such as Uber and Lyft are one of the most convenient ways to travel in Orlando. They tend to be much cheaper than taking a traditional taxi, and these travel apps are super easy to use. If youve got a smartphone, just download the app before you leave for the day. Once youve set up an account and linked your payment card, you will be able to arrange transport any time, any place.
Using your phones location, the app can detect exactly where you are. When youre ready to go, just confirm your pick-up address and enter your final destination. The app will generate prices for your journey, and alert the closest driver to your location. Not only is this service much quicker than organising a standard taxi pickup, its around 30% cheaper! You also wont need to factor in the cost of parking charges using this method of transport.
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Universal Studios Top Attractions
The Wizarding World of Harry Potter âHarry Potter and the Escape from Gringotts âThe Simpsons Ride âDisaster! A Motion Picture Ride…Starring YOU âRevenge of the Mummy âTerminator 2: 3D âMEN IN BLACK Alien Attack âHollywood Rip Ride Rockit âTRANSFORMERS: The Ride 3D âE.T. Adventure âDespicable Me Minion Mayhem âShrek 4D âTWISTER…Ride It Out âRead more about Universal Studios at Wikipedia
How Much Time Do You Have When Comparing Universal Vs Disney World
As you can see above both Walt Disney World and Universal Orlando offer different experiences in terms of theme parks and water parks. So we feel one of the easiest questions to ask yourself when deciding if you should visit Disney World vs Universal Orlando is how much time do you have?
We have covered this in detail in a few of our blogs however we feel the best way to see everything Walt Disney World has to offer is to plan at least 6 days for your vacation. However, deciding how many days you need for Universal seems to be a bit easier as its smaller compared to Disney. We feel that guests can typically see a majority of Universal Orlando in 3 full days. Now of course thats not saying that you might want to extend that to really relax and enjoy everything that Universal has to offer. We just feel like if you only have time for one destination when deciding Universal Vs Disney World the below outline is super helpful!
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How To Travel From Disney To Universal Without Your Vehicle
A lot of travelers fly into Florida and take either Disneys Magical Express or an Uber, Lyft, or taxi from the airport to their Disney Resort hotel. This leaves families without a car to get from Disney to Universal, should they choose to hit both parks.
If you decide to go this route and only want to spend a day or two at Universal, then there are several options to get from one theme park to the other. Some options are as follows:
- Renting a car
Genie+ Vs Express Passes
Another important factor when considering the differences between both Disney World and Universal Studios is their Fastpass+ and express pass services. Its important to understand the differences between the two as the Disney Genie+ is a significantly lower cost per day when compared to the Universal Express Pass. However we feel both systems have their pros and cons.
The Disney Genie+ system is $15 per guest per day with a valid Walt Disney World ticket. The biggest difference however is guests can only pick one Genie+ ride selection at a time. Guests can add an additional Premium Genie+ to their My Disney experience for an additional fee, which would allow you to hold two ride reservations at once.
The Universal express pass however is as add on option that can be purchased with your Universal Orlando tickets. The express passes are expensive and in some cases can be more expensive than the actual price of tickets for that day. Guests can purchase two options which include riding one ride per day or an unlimited option.
We do feel like this can be a great choice for guests who are looking to get as much done as they can if they only have one or two days to visit the parks. There are also certain on-site Universal Orlando hotels which include the express passes at no additional cost!
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Ability To Skip Lines
For those who are looking to be able to do the most in one day without having to wait in long lines, Universal Orlando just might be the better option right now. Why? Well, after almost 18 months of no FastPass+, Disney World retired the program and introduced two new paid ways to skip the line at select popular attractions. And, while the ability to bypass the wait is back, Universal Orlando has Disney beat for some fans.
Disneys new system is comparable to Universals Express Pass in that only select attractions are included in each of the two new services , but the prices and perks are pretty different.
The Express Pass at Universal isnt free and can cost as little as $70 per person up to around $200 per person during peak times. But, if youre staying at a Premier Resort then the express pass is complimentary.
Disney Genie+ and Individual Attraction Selections on the other hand are two separate costs with Genie+ being $15 per person, per day and Individual Attraction Selections ranging from $7 to $15 or more depending on when youre visiting. So, if youre maximizing your chances of spending less time in line, then you can end up paying up to $45 per person at Disney World. And, there are no cases where you can get either for free like you do when staying at select Universal hotels.
Should We Stay At Disney World And Just Travel To Universal Orlando
Some families stay at Walt Disney World for their entire vacation but will travel to Universal Orlando for a day or two. This can save time because you wont have to check in and out of hotels, all you need are theme park tickets and a way to go between both resorts.
But the Universal Orlando hotels are very well managed, come with great perks, and are often cheaper than the Disney World hotels.
For example, Universals Value hotels have more to offer and are higher rated than Disneys Value hotels. Universals Cabana Bay Resort has a bowling alley, water slide, lazy river, and multiple dining options including a Starbucks.
Disneys Value resorts do not have water slides, and offer basic amenities. But staying with Disney gives you useful perks, plus youll save time.
I recommend staying at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel when visiting the Disney theme parks and staying at a Universal Orlando hotel when visiting the Universal theme parks. This way your family will be immersed in the fun and excitement at each resort destination and it wont feel disjointed.
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Can You Stay At Disney And Go To Universal
The short answer is you can.
As a Disney World guest, you are entitled to free transportation around the Disney property, but thats the only transportation that Disney provides.
Why? Well, Disney doesnt want you to leave their property at all. Its understandable, but dont worry, like we reviewed above, there are various ways to get to Universal Studios from Disney World.
As a DVC member, I almost always stay at a Disney resort and I almost always also go to Universal Studios. There is nothing stopping you from making that trip outside of knowing how to.
You can add your visit to Universal anywhere within your trip. Use a Disney vacation planner to plan out your trip high level.
When youre building your trip to Universal into your itinerary, you should treat it just like any other theme park day. Theres going to be a lot of walking, a lot of fun, and just an adventure day. Make sure to build in rest days into your vacation.